WHO says 7 or 8 ‘top’ candidates for a Covid-19 vaccine exist

The World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there are around seven or eight “top” candidates for a vaccine to fight the coronavirus and work on them is being accelerated.

It was during a U.N. Economic and Social Council video briefing Tedros revealed the current status of World’s effort in developing vaccine against novel coronavirus.  According to him an accelerated effort is in progress with the help of leaders from 40 countries, organizations and banks which promised 7.4 billion euros ($8 billion) to spend a week ago for research, treatment and testing. He also said that the original thinking two months ago was that it might take 12 to 18 months for a vaccine.

He said the $8 billion will not be enough, and additional funds will be needed to speed up the development of a vaccine, but more importantly to produce enough “to make sure that this vaccine reaches everyone — (and) there’s no one be left behind.”

“We have good candidates now,” Tedros said. “The top ones are around seven, eight. But we have more than a hundred candidates.”

“We are focusing on the few candidates we have which can bring probably better results and accelerating those candidates with better potential,” he said.

Tedros did not identify the top candidates.

Since January, he said, “WHO has been working with thousands of researchers all over the world to accelerate and track vaccine development from developing animal models to clinical trial designs and everything in between.”

Tedros said there is also a consortium of more than 400 scientists involved in vaccine development and diagnostics.

The WHO chief stressed that COVID-19 is “very contagious and it’s a killer,” with over 4 million cases now reported to WHO and almost 275,000 lives lost.

While new cases are declining in Western Europe, they are increasing in Eastern Europe, Africa, southeast Asia, the eastern Mediterranean and other regions, he said.

Tedros said “the pandemic is teaching us many painful lessons,” especially the importance of having strong national and regional health systems.

“And yet on current trends, more than 5 billion people will not access these essential services by 2030” — the ability to see a health worker, access essential medicine, and have running water in hospitals, he said.

He stressed that as the response to COVID-19 continues, nations must also lay the foundations for a healthy, safer and fairer world.